This module allows you to compare the average monthly cost of the tariff plans available on the Belgian residential market for fixed Internet access, mobile Internet access or a solution combining fixed and mobile Internet.
- via either a “quick search” using the default values of the tool;
- or via a “personalised search” taking into account the information you enter for your monthly usage profile.
This indicative tool can help you to choose a specific tariff plan from the different offers currently available for sale on the market and present in the tariff simulator.
The different costs you might have to face when acquiring and using telecommunications service(s) can be classified in three types: one-time costs, fixed costs and variable costs.
When acquiring a telecommunications service with a fixed element(= fixed Internet or combined Internet, for example), you may have to face 3 types of one-time costs: connection fees, activation fees and installation fees.
Ø The connection fees are only due if:
- you are moving into a new building,
- you have never been connected before or you are no longer connected,
- you would like to change the type of "distribution channel".
Because of the strong development of the Belgian housing stock on the one hand and the particular character of this kind of costs on the other hand - which are by definition strongly linked to the characteristics of your own home -, BIPT has decided not to take into account this type of charges in the results of the tariff simulator.
If you are in one of these cases, BIPT strongly recommends you to get some information on the technical possibilities and the costs incurred from the operators of your choice in order to have the information perfectly adapted to your particular case.
Ø The activation fees correspond to the fee passed on by your operator to activate your service. These charges are due for any telecommunications service including a fixed element but may be reduced or suspended thanks to a temporary special offer. The tariff simulator takes account of these types of charges and special offers.
Ø As regards the installation fees, two cases are possible: you would either like to make the installation by yourself or to entrust a technician with this task. The amount to be paid will depend on this choice, which is why the tariff simulator questions you about your installation preference. It should be noted that some plans only allow one installation type. A logical consequence to this is that, depending on the installation type you will have selected, these plans will be displayed or not in the results proposed by the tool. In the results display, plans will be filtered according to the following reasoning:
a. The plans proposing both installation possibilities will always be displayed in the results, showing the option chosen by the user;
b. The plans only proposing the installation by a technician will also always be displayed in the results. There is no reason to forbid the display of this plan type, particularly if this plan offers a good price;
c. The plans only allowing the installation by yourself will only be displayed if the user has chosen "installation by myself". Indeed, if a user has chosen the installation by a technician, he will not be satisfied with a product requiring the installation by himself.
By default, the tool assumes that the answer to this question is "by myself": so, if the user does not change this parameter, he will be able to see all the tariff plans regardless of the installation fees issue.
These costs are monthly recurring costs. For example, the value of your monthly subscription fees to which you have to add, if applicable and if the value is not already included in this amount, the modem rental. These fixed costs can also possibly include tariff options, for example to obtain a volume of additional data.
Variable costs are the costs incurred when your consumption is higher than the fixed amount included in the service purchased. For instance, for fixed Internet, the amount included in your monthly subscription fees corresponds to the fixed costs to which the volume acquired on top of the volume existing in the basic offer has to be added.
Except for the connection fees, the tariff simulator takes account of these different costs when calculating the average monthly cost. To ease the financial impact of these charges over a relevant period of time BIPT took as hypothesis a three-year reference period, in accordance with the approach followed by the OECD for the study of the tariff baskets in the telecommunications sector. In practice, it means that we consider it as an average period during which the consumer intends to use the service in question before possibly considering to change the tariff plan or the provider.
Figure 1 – Select the required connection type
Whether you prefer the “quick search” or the “personalised search”, the first step consists in specifying your request regarding the Internet service: fixed Internet, mobile Internet or a combined solution. A combined solution provides both fixed and mobile Internet access services.
To facilitate the process, it is important to understand how tariff plans will be filtered on the results display page:
The page contents will change according to your selection. For the solutions including fixed Internet - i.e. the fixed Internet solution and the combined solution -, you are requested by the tool to specify your postcode and to choose between the two possible types of installation: you either opt for a solution installed by a technician or you opt for installation by yourself. The solutions suggested will take your choice into account. By default, the tool assumes that you choose a "do-it-yourself" solution.
The Internet screen corresponding to your choice will contain the default values for the minimum volumes required that will be used if you opt for the “quick search”.
You can change these parameters
§ either directly by entering your own usage details in the “personalised search” part
§ or by using the slider at the top of the page in the “quick search” part.
These sliders allow you indeed to choose between three predefined usage profiles: low/medium/high. These are linked to a certain monthly download volume. These default values are based on data collected from operators active on the Belgian residential market and are displayed directly in the “Broadband usage” section.
Whatever the Internet type chosen (fixed Internet, mobile Internet or combined solution), you will then have to specify whether or not you want the effect of the currently valid special offers to appear in the results. You also have to specify whether or not you want the effect of the currently valid special offers to appear in the results. We draw your attention to the fact that, by default, the plans presented by the tariff simulator are those corresponding to the consumption profile that you have entered taking into account the existing special offers. This approach results from the will of BIPT to allow the user to make the most of the special offers proposed by the operators on the Belgian residential telecommunications market. It is of course still possible to get results excluding special offers by modifying the answer to the question regarding the taking into account of the special offers.
However, we draw your attention to the fact that some of them are only accessible if certain conditions are met. If this is the case, the operator will already have filled in a text field specifying the eligibility conditions for the special offers that are subject to conditions. You will find them in the pink field under the plan's name.
The average monthly cost displayed takes account of all the special offers encoded in the simulator. Please check that you do meet the eligibility conditions for the special offers subject to conditions in order to get this service at the advertised price.
Figure 2 – Quick search and personalised search, fixed Internet
By default, the slider is set to its lowest setting. As you move the slider to the right, you can see the direct impact on the required data volume (in GB).
For the requests including a fixed element, i.e. fixed Internet or combined solution, the postcode of your future connection must be specified in order to determine the operators likely to propose the required service in this municipality. You are also requested to specify the type of installation you would like: by a technician or by yourself.
In the “personalised search” part, there are also questions on the minimum monthly volume (in GB = a billion of bytes or information bytes) and the required speeds (in Mbps) on a monthly basis. Explanatory popupsand a link to the information website Surfmobile are available in order to allow you to better evaluate your usage profile through a series of concrete examples of Internet usage (e-mails, social media, app download, streaming...).
The questions on speed are optional. For each of the two (downstream and upstream) speeds, you can possibly select a required minimum speed in a predefined list which will be displayed by clicking on the small arrow on the right side.
Figure 3 - Speeds suggested by the tariff simulator
As regards transmission speeds, your attention is drawn to the fact that because of several technological constraints, the nominal speeds of the Internet products such as mentioned in the commercial offers of operators and displayed in the tariff simulator of BIPT are rather theoretical: in practice, the actual speeds that customers can obtain can, at times, be substantially lower than those nominal values.
Figure 4 – Quick search and personalised search, mobile Internet
Regarding the mobile Internet services, besides the possibility to use a slider allowing to opt for a predefined profile (“quick search”), there is also a parameter in the “personalised search” that can be taken into account to display a list of plans corresponding best to your usage: it is the minimum required data download volume (data to be introduced in MB = a million of bytes of information bytes). A link to the Surfmobile website is also available to help you to better evaluate the volume corresponding to your usage.
Figure 5 – Quick search and personalised search, combined solution
In the case of a request for a combined solution, the public interface also displays a “rapid search” with two separate sliders allowing the distinct selection of usage profiles for fixed and mobile Internet.
You are asked a question only for requests including fixed Internet (fixed Internet or combined solution). This relates to whether you have a fixed telephone subscription from Proximus. Indeed, this question can have a direct impact on the fixed Internet component of the offers that are available to you: if you already have a fixed telephone subscription from Proximus, you can get Internet access via an alternative operator offering Internet access without additional costs for the connection.
The second step consists in obtaining and displaying the results.
Figure 7– User-selected display settings
The tariff plans proposed are those likely to be provided in the geographical area indicated by the postcode displayed on the screen if you opt for a solution including fixed Internet.
By default, the list of proposed plans is limited to the 20 best offers, with a maximum of three offers per operator. However, users can change the number of results displayed by using the corresponding dropdown lists.
By default, the tariff plans are sorted by the tool in increasing order of average monthly cost on the basis of the usage details you entered. You can also change the sorting order of this result list by clicking on the relevant column heading (operator, tariff plan, monthly subscription fee, average monthly cost).
This list includes the following information:
This cost includes, in addition to monthly subscription fees corresponding to the tariff indicated on the various communication media of operators, additional elements to take into account in the calculation of your monthly cost. Depending on the type on Internet chosen, it can be:
These elements can have an upward or a downward impact on the average cost to be paid monthly.
Figure 8 – Display of the main characteristics of a plan
Detailed information can be found in a window when you place your slider on the relevant icon (= the red arrow on the right side of the average monthly cost for the plan).
Clicking on this icon displays additional information:
Where applicable, it is indicated whether these costs are monthly charges or if the fee has been split over the entire contract period.
You can also change your usage profile by clicking on “Change/Edit your usage details”.
You can print the list of results by clicking directly on “Print results”.
This step allows you to view the specific details of the tariff plan of an operator. You can access these by clicking on the name of the tariff plan in the list of results:
Figure 9– Accessing detailed information on a plan
This page includes:
§ contact details for the operator (name, address, telephone number, e-mail and website);
§ detailed information and features of the tariff plan.